The U.S. intelligence community may acknowledge professional excellence by presenting employees or others with one of several monetary or honorary awards specified in a new Intelligence Community Directive (pdf).
“It is the policy of the DNI to recognize and honor all individuals and groups for distinguished service and/or exceptional contributions to the security of the U.S.; the development and execution of the U.S. National Intelligence Strategy and its various implementation plans; the integration and transformation of the IC, and/or the accomplishment of its mission;” and so forth.
Awards may range from certificates and “keepsakes” of no monetary value to large financial gifts. Amounts in excess of $25,000 must be approved by the President.
Covert personnel are not permitted to take possession of their awards.
Instead, “the IC element and/or the ODNI retain(s) the award when the individual is covert or a future covert assignment or affiliation is likely.”
Intelligence Community Directive 655, entitled “National Intelligence Awards Program,” was issued by Directive of National Intelligence Mike McConnell on May 23, 2007.